Early Literacy Information for Families

Let's yarn and play

Literacy is the foundation for lifelong learning.

Literacy learning starts long before children start at kindergarten and school.

The most important time for early language and literacy development is from birth to age three.

It’s never too early to start reading with children.

Our key message to families with young children is to:

Read, sing, talk and play with your child every day.



Three of the most important things you can do to improve the literacy for your child are:

  • Read aloud to them. Whatever their age, whatever you read, reading aloud has been proven to engage children with reading.
  • Be a reading role model. Don’t just tell a child to read – let them see you read. It doesn’t have to be fiction either; you can read a magazine or the newspaper. Just let your child know you enjoy doing it!
  • Have books in the home. Young people who have books of their own are twice as likely to enjoy reading as those who don’t own books.

Visit and borrow books from a library or Book Box Library – choose books that your child is interested in.

Introduce your child to a wide variety of books. Books come in all shapes and sizes – squashy books, books which make noises, ‘touchy feely’ books.

Very small children may enjoy just spending time looking at and talking about pictures that catch their attention- more than listening to every word of the story!

Reading the same book over and over again is great too- this builds their confidence. Repeated phrases helps build children’s language and you know they are enjoying the experience.

Make the reading experience enjoyable, relaxed and fun.

Here’s a list of some great books for children, as recommended by the Children’s Book Council of Australia :

Children’s Book Council of Australia’s Book Guide

For further information, visit the following websites:

Goldfields Library ‘Learning Starts Early’ video series

7 great reasons to read with your kids



Babies love to listen to the sound of your voice, so talk about what you are doing as you go about your everyday jobs. To learn language, babies need to hear thousands of words each day. Repeating words and phrases is good too. The more words learnt as babies and toddlers, the more learning will be easier once they get to school.

It’s never too early to start sharing stories. Point out the pictures and encourage your baby to babble.

Choose books that feature familiar objects to name.

Ask lots of questions such as ‘Where’s the…?’, ‘What’s that called?’, ‘What’s she doing?’, ‘How did that happen?’, ‘What happens next?’.

Encourage your child to join in or finish phrases with stories they know well.

Discuss things you both liked/didn’t like and why.

Point out signs and words all around you: on food packets in the supermarket, on buses, in newspapers, in recipes, on road signs, etc.

Play games like ‘I spy’.

Go for a walk and talk about what you see together.

Keep adding new words to increase your child’s vocabulary.



Listen to music together – in the car and at home

Singing songs and nursery rhymes to babies is the perfect way to help develop their language – use actions and puppets and toys to make it even more fun!

Make some noise together- animal sounds, musical sounds- loud, soft, fast and slow.

Pause and wait for your child to sing key words in a song they know well.

Check out a local Mother Goose program together.

Take a look at The Hanen Centre’s guide to singing with toddlers.

Download the Baby Karaoke App below and enjoy singing well-known nursery rhymes together.



Add props or puppets to your reading of a picture book.

Babies love to watch and copy your face – smile, talk, sing, make a funny face.

Play ‘Peekaboo’.

Use simple and safe home objects to create play experiences.

Talk about what your child is doing as you play together.

Join a local playgroup session.

Find a playgroup near you – Playgroups Victoria

Multicultural Language Resources

Multicultural families may wish to keep their young children connected to their home language and cultural identity while learning a new language. Please refer to the following resources as a guide.

Bilingual Children

Learning in School

Koorie Early Childhood Education Program

Aboriginal Early Years Support

Aboriginal Torres Strait Islander: Cultural Activities book– courtesy of Bendigo District Aboriginal Co-operative.

Indigenous Education Resources

Storytelling is a great way to help a child’s cultural and language learning. The following link provides videos with some great storytelling ideas.

Telling Stories with children

Useful Websites and Apps

Baby Karaoke for iOS and Android